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(Original article by Mark Oppenheimer at The Nation...)

"...In the essay “Democratic Exclusion (and Its Remedies?),” in the new collection, Taylor writes that “a full understanding of the dilemma of democratic exclusion shows that there is no alternative” to what he calls “sharing identity space.” Sounds promising. But a few sentences later, as it occurs to you to ask what “sharing identity space” means, he writes:

What this means in practice is beyond the ambit of this essay. Solutions have to be tailored to particular situations. But some of the political mechanisms of this sharing are already well-known, for example, various brands of federalism, as well as the design of forms of special status for minority societies, such as we see today in Scotland and Catalonia, for instance. But many other modalities remain to be devised for the still more diverse democratic societies of the twenty-first century.


Here, as in numerous other passages in his work, Taylor is a master of the philosopher’s tease. After all the foreplay—the meaty problem (democratic exclusion), the examples both famous and less so (Scotland and Catalonia), the careful array of possible solutions—the climax is postponed. It is “beyond the ambit of this essay,” except we know that achieving it will involve “other modalities.” Cold shower, please..."


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